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Personal Balance Sheet, November 2008 ($180,926, +6.5%)

This article was written by in Monthly Update. 9 comments.


It doesn’t look like I’m going to meet the goal I set for myself last year. A net worth of $210,000 is out of the question unless the stock market experiences a miraculous recovery. All things considered, my finances are still in good shape.

Every month, I review my account balances and income vs. expenses to keep myself accountable for my financial situation. I’ve been posting my financial reports online for about five years.

Despite further slips in the stock market, my “modified net worth” increased in November. This is attributed to my alternative income, which will be outlined in a post later today or tomorrow. But keep reading this article to see the breakdown of my net worth.

Net Worth Balance Sheet, November 2008

The above report is made with Intuit Quicken and Microsoft Excel. Here’s a balance sheet Excel template. If you don’t want to go through all the trouble I do every month, but you still want to post your financial reports online, I suggest checking out NetworthIQ.

Current Assets

Current Assets includes cash in bank and investment accounts, like savings, checking, and money market funds. It also includes “Accounts Receivable,” invoices I send to clients and advertisers. Accounts Receivable is increasing, which is good for business.

Long-Term Assets

Any assets other than cash are included in Long-Term Assets, even if I plan to use the money in a few years. This is primarily my retirement funds, but I also include the value of my car and my other investments. Surprisingly, my car has been the best “investment” over the past year. According to edmunds.com, my car’s value has actually increased to $9,059.

I don’t plan on reflecting that in Quicken because it doesn’t make much sense.

I’m trying not to focus on my investments. My strategy right now is to keep my head down and continue the process that should pay off in the long run: continue bi-weekly investments in my 401(k) with the same asset allocation I determined last year, invest in an SEP IRA once a year, and buy the stock market on the dips at a rate of about $500 per month.

Current Liabilities

Thanks to my November cash experiment, I have hardly used my credit card over the past month. As long as I keep this experiment going, I my current liabilities will continue to be low.

Long-Term Liabilities

I have only one long-term liability remaining, my student loan. That’s not for long, however. I’ve already scheduled my final loan payment for December 15. At that point, I will be fully debt-free for the first time since I’ve been an independent, income-earning individual.

That won’t last long. Society dictates I join the home ownership club, and that is the plan for when I feel I’m ready to “settle down.”

How was November for you, financially?

Published or updated December 2, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar PT

Must feel great to be rid of the student loans. 18K in 2 years! Wow. You killed that thing.

This month was another bad one for me on the long-term savings (401k took a beating). But debt is still going down, and cash savings going up.

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avatar velvet jones

My retirement savings have gone down, but that’s the status quo for almost everyone. My cash position is pretty good. I have no debt so I just continue to save as much as possible. In my opinion, right now it’s more important to me to have enough cash on hand than worry about the rise and fall of my stock. I’m still contributing towards my retirement at the same levels I always have and will continue to do so, but since I’m about 30 years away from retiring, I’m not all that concerned. I’m more interested in making sure I have enough money to live with the turmoil we’re in now. :)

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,505 (Platinum)

PT: There was a time, many years ago, when I couldn’t keep up with my payments. That didn’t “feel” bad until I realized what it was doing to my finances. It will be a relief to leave $1,000 or more a month into savings rather than direct that money to pay off a loan, as I have doing this year at an accelerated rate to pay off the loan by the end of the year.

Velvet: I have about 30 years until retirement as well. As every month passes, I’m getting closer to having a more non-traditional primary “career,” so retirement may mean something quite different for me by the time it rolls around.

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avatar CJ

I have a quick question. If you have that type of cash in the bank, why didn’t you pay off your student loans a long time ago? For instance, it looks like that in November 2006, you would have had enough cash in the bank to pay off your student loan and car loan and still have $6,000 left in the bank. Any particular reason why you chose not to do that?

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avatar That One Caveman

We’re still working to pay off my wife’s student loans, but we just paid off the car last month. With how that felt, I can only imagine how much better paying off a huge student debt feels. That will really go a long way toward increasing your cash flow. Congrats on becoming debt free – I can only look forward to that long in the distant future.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,505 (Platinum)

CJ: Until 2007, the interest rate I was earning on savings was greater than the interest rate I was paying on the loans, even after tax. In that case it made more sense to pay the minimum each month while I let my money earn interesting in the bank. At the end of 2007 and throughout 2008, savings interest rates sank while my student loan rate stayed the same, so I accelerated my payoff plan. I didn’t pay it all off right away because I wanted to keep cash available for possible use as a house down payment.

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avatar Miss M

You had a good month overall, I did my usual savings and investments and still lost money for the month. Oh well, all this pain has to pay off some day. I still haven’t paid off my student loan completely even though I have money in the bank, I guess it’s psychological. The money in the bank is more important to me than paying off that debt.

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avatar CJ

Ah, that makes a lot more sense then. It looks like you are close to becoming debt free anyways. Congratulations on that. I’m finally down to only having a little less than $100,000 left on my house and no other debts. It feels great. I’m hoping to be 100% debt free in about 5 years.

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avatar RLZ

Congrats on becoming debt free in December! It’s an awesome feeling.

Quick question – Do you ever have any trouble collecting on any of your receivables or have to write any of them off? Given the current economy, I was just wondering if you’ve ever struggled with this.

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